For many years, Doberman Pinschers have been dismissed as aggressive and too dangerous for families with children. This is no longer the case for the majority of Dobermans, as much of their sharpness has been bred out of the breed over the last thirty years. That being said, bringing a Doberman into your home still requires a large commitment on your part to raise your puppy to be well adjusted and to learn to difference between guests that are welcome in your home and strangers who might mean you harm. Owning a Doberman Pinscher is actually a great responsibility, but relationships with these dogs can be very rewarding if they are trained properly.
Dobermans were bred to be protection and guard dogs, and while many of its negative characteristics have been filtered out of the breed, its sense of loyalty to its human family and its willingness to protect it still remains. In order for your Doberman to have a better understanding of peoples' intentions, socialization is a very important part of the training process. Socialization is merely the process of getting your Doberman used to the presence of other people. This should start early in the Doberman's life, and can be as simple as taking your puppy on walks around the neighborhood or walking in the park. Allow others to pet and dote on your puppy, and soon he will learn the cues that friendly strangers give when they do not mean any harm. Another excellent option is enrolling your puppy in an obedience class, often called "puppy kindergarten." This will give your Doberman experience in meeting people but will also help the dog get used to the presence of other dogs.
Because of their protective nature, Dobermans may always be wary of strangers, but if properly socialized, they will be able to gage the difference between and friendly person and one with bad intentions, and most will readily accept a stranger once his handler has made clear that there is no threat.
Dobermans are typically very attached to their human families and require a lot of attention. They are very active and love to play. They are going to require some time set aside everyday to exercise, and if they can exercise by playing with their families, all the better. Exercise doesn't have to mean just running, but it can be a game of fetch or Frisbee, a pastime in which Dobermans excel. Another option is to consider training with your Doberman for competitions such as for obedience or agility, as Dobermans are finding success in both these fields.
A Firm Hand
Dobermans are naturally dominant dogs and will walk all over their handlers if not taught to do otherwise. Training Dobermans requires a firm hand, but that doesn't mean harsh or abusive. Those that do not have experience training dogs of this nature are highly recommended to seek out an obedience training course that they can attend with their dog to learn appropriate techniques, which will result not only in an obedient dog but a happy one as well.
Well trained and socialized, Dobermans are generally not as dangerous as many people still believe them to be. The US Center of Disease Control reports that between 1979 and 1998, Dobermans were less frequently involved in attacks on humans than other breeds, but still the idea of Dobermans as dangerous dogs exists. If you are thinking of bringing home a Doberman and you live in an area with a homeowner's association, you may want to check with them to see if they have restrictions on the size and types of dogs that are accepted in the neighborhood.